What's in Store for 2018? by Andrea Beça

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Happy New Year, All!

To be honest, it's really hard to believe we're already almost a full week into 2018. The last year has flown by - as they always do, I suppose. 

I want to start out by saying thank you to all of my 2017 clients. I had the opportunity to work on such an amazing variety of projects, from teaming up with Calgary-based company KNG Capital for Tiger Cage...

...to flying out to Vancouver for a week to be a production assistant on upcoming Netflix film, Game Over, Man.

I also won funding from Telus STORYHIVE to make a webseries pilot of Stump Kitchen: Cooking For the Heart

And that's just a small sampling from an amazing year. 

So, what's in store for 2018?

You may have noticed that I relaunched my website - and business - on January 1st. If you take a look through my services offered, you'll notice some significant changes, namely that I have streamlined my business and focused in on filmmaking, photography, and storytelling education.

My focus for 2018 is completely set on helping others share their story with the world, whether that's through creating engaging, effective video content, professional story consulting, or training and workshops. 

What is Story Consulting?

You've got an amazing business/brand/organization/event, but what's the best way to actually reach your audience and share it with them? 

In a story consulting session, we'll sit down and talk about your business, your audience, and the best way to reach them. It's 2018 and the amount of channels and platforms available to businesses is overwhelming. Do you need to be on Instagram? Would a podcast increase your sales? Or should you focus on a YouTube channel?

I'll help you figure it out, form a plan, and connect you with the people who can make it happen.

Training & Workshops

This is something I've been asked for a lot over the last two years, and I'm making it happen in 2018!

Not ready to hire a professional filmmaker, but eager to creative strong video content? Join my upcoming workshop, Ace Your DIY Video Content & Discoverability, on Saturday, February 3 at Homestead Coworking. 

During this three-hour workshop, we'll tackle:

  • Choosing the right camera
  • Lighting and audio
  • Composition and editing
  • Social media strategy for sharing video
  • Tricks for improving discoverability

And more.

Early bird pricing is live from now until January 19, so snap up a ticket while you can! 

The Ace Class Edmonton - Activate!

Another bit of news that I am absolutely thrilled to share with you all is that I have partnered up with The Ace Class out of Calgary to become a Community Activator here in Edmonton. If you follow along on my social media channels, you may have seen that I was in Calgary at the beginning of December to share my entrepreneurial journey with a group of amazing women at Babes Who Brunch. 

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I'm very excited to tell you that Babes Who Brunch - and a serious of other fantastic events - is coming to Edmonton starting in just a couple of weeks!

I'll have more details to share with you all very soon, but for now, grab your spot for Babes Who Brunch, because you will not want to miss it! 

Film, Film, and More Film

And of course, I have a lot of very exciting film projects coming up this year, so stay tuned to hear more about those - and to watch them!

That's all for today, folks! I am beyond grateful to be able to do what I love every single day, and I am genuinely beside myself with excitement and anticipation for this year. 

If you love this, do me a favour and click 'Share' below to help me spread the word. And as always, if you're ready to work together or you have any questions about anything mentioned above, you know where to find me!

Three Reasons You Need Video in Your Digital Marketing Strategy by Andrea Beça

I know I've said it before, but I'm saying it again: if your business or organization doesn't have video in its digital marketing strategy yet, you're missing out on a significant opportunity. 

Something I get asked a lot, especially when I'm presenting about social media and storytelling, is, "Why video?"

What makes video so special?

Here are three reasons you need video in your digital marketing strategy, stat.

1. It's engaging.

As a lifelong writer with two degrees in the field, I hate to say it, but words take more time and effort than video. You can convey to your audience in a 90-second video what may take you a short article to explain in words. And you can grab someone's attention much quicker with a strong visual than you can with a headline. (Especially now that we're in the age of brutal clickbait titles for everything.)

The digital space is a busy one. It's teeming with words and ads and info. Getting your story across in a succinct, visually appealing, emotionally gripping way (whether the emotion is excitement, fear, anticipation, romance, etc.) is going to do you good.

2. It's authentic.

Did I mention the digital world is teeming with words? It's also teeming with highly curated, often disingenuous personas that belong to both people and brands. And while yes, you can decorate a fancy set and make your business (or life) seem more sumptuous than it is, it's pretty difficult to fake personality if you're not a highly experienced actor.

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Video is a great way for people to see you - eye to eye - get to know you, and connect with you. And in the age of social media, that face to face connection can be absolutely priceless. I think that the authenticity of that behind-the-scenes glimpse into a business, brand, or organization is what really captures people's attention - and hearts.

3. It's effective.

The bottom line is, videos works for you. Social media algorithms love it, and, as a matter of fact, favour it. And it's been proven again and again that it gets a lot more engagement than written words or even photography. (And keep in mind that these stats are on the rise...at a rapid pace.)

Ready to start creating killer video content to up your digital marketing game in 2018, but not sure where to start? Check out my Five Tips for Great Video Content. Before you panic, know this: you don't have to kick things off with a giant film production. Start with a goal, and then figure out what steps you need to take to crush it.

Ready to collaborate with a professional to achieve your video goals? Get in touch.

 

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Five Common Misconceptions About Video by Andrea Beça

Video content is master of the internet right now. It's eye-catching, engaging, and effective. (Well, when it's done right, it is.) But over the last couple years running my business, I've also discovered that there are many misconceptions about video that create barriers for people interested in harnessing its digital marketing power. 

So let's talk about five of the most common misconceptions I've encountered concerning video content:

Photo by L Photography.

Photo by L Photography.

1. It's Untouchable / "I don't even know where to start."

I hear this a lot. "Oh, I love the videos __________ posts on their social media, but I have no clue how to make them." 

Anyone can develop video content. If you're feeling intimidated, start simple and try out Facebook Live. Get online, engage your audience, give them useful information pertaining to your business and explore how that impacts your reach and engagement. The more you experiment, the more you'll hone in on what works and doesn't work. You may discover a certain type of video your audience loves that surprises you (e.g., a live unboxing of new stock), and you may also discover that it's time to produce some polished, professional videos to build business. Your audience holds the gold: if you can find out what they want and provide it, you're set for success. So don't be afraid to ask them what they'd like to see from your business, brand, or organization.

2. Anyone Can Do It / "My friend just bought a camera - I don't need to hire a professional."

Notice that in the previous paragraph, I said, "anyone can develop video content," and not, "anyone can develop great video content" - meaning engaging, effective, and successful video content. Yes, you can absolutely get your friend to shoot your next video. But that doesn't mean it's going to be good. 

Do you always need to hire a professional? No. Should you usually hire a professional? Yes. Even if you don't have the budget to hire a professional to develop, shoot, and edit your video, you can hugely benefit from paying one for an hour of consulting to learn how to make the most of the equipment you have, how to improve composition, how to affordably record great audio, etc.

(Hint: I'm available for these types of consultation, as well as one-on-one and group training. So don't hesitate to get in touch.)

3. It's All About Equipment / "I can't create video content because I don't have an expensive camera, a production studio, etc."

I'm a professional filmmaker, and I'm telling you, equipment isn't everything. You can have tens of thousands of dollars' worth of the latest gear and still make crappy films and video. Or you can have an iPhone and a couple extra tools and make an award-winning film, like Tangerine

Filmmaking is a skill. Actually, it's many skills that work together to create a final product - from writing and pre-production to shooting to editing. When you hire a professional (whether it's an individual or a team), you're getting a lot more than an expensive camera. An expensive camera can't save someone who knows nothing about composition. And no equipment on the planet can save someone who has no idea how to tell a story. Again, if you're not ready for a full-fledged professionally made video, consider consultation if you need help, but don't let your brand of camera (or smartphone) stop you from getting started.

4. Length of Video = Length of Shoot / "It's only a 30-second ad - it should take 30 seconds to shoot, and it should be cheap."

This is something I encounter almost weekly. The quickest way for me to respond is, "You know how Super Bowl commercials are (in)famous for costing millions of dollars?" 

A video could be 30 seconds long and feature 10 different locations, hundreds of extras, and a ton of special effects. Consider the content before you start drawing conclusions about how much of a professional's time you'll need. You may not be making a Super Bowl commercial, but how many different locations are you envisioning? What types of props, costumes, and people are necessary? And don't forget, editing happens after your shoot, and can be the biggest job of all. 

Bring your ideas to a pro. They'll give you a quote. If it's out of your current budget, you can either start saving up, or ask them what's possible within your budget. Because there are always options, and a professional will always be ready to present those options to you if you're open to hearing them.

5. Professional Video is Too Expensive / "I can't afford to hire a professional for a single video."

I'm not going to sugar coat things for you all: professional video content is an investment. You're not going to get strong video content for $100. That being said, if you're working with a professional, part of the process should be making sure that you're getting the right type of video, and that the content of it will serve you for a desired time period. I have clients who have been using their company profile videos for over a year already, and those videos are still bringing them a steady stream of new business. Would your marketing budget for a couple years be $100? I sure hope not! 

The best type of feedback to get from a client! Watch Andrea's video here.

The best type of feedback to get from a client! Watch Andrea's video here.

What I'm saying here is this: like many, many other things, professional video is something that requires an upfront investment before you start seeing a return on that investment (though once it's released, that return can happen very quickly). And yes, if you're a small business, brand, or organization, you may need to save up before you can make your first one. But having content that lives for years, tells your story in a beautiful and effective way, and (in a sense) works for you to attract new business is absolutely worth it.

Ready to create amazing video content? Looking for consultation or training? You know where to find me.

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Capturing Love with Amanda & Stuart by Andrea Beça

On August 19, I had the absolute pleasure of watching my beautiful friend Amanda marry her love, Stuart, on a breathtaking property just outside of Edmonton. 

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It was such a privilege to be able to capture so many incredible moments throughout the day, and I'll admit I spent a lot of the time crying while I crafted their wedding story into a video. (You'd think after watching it so many times, I'd become desensitized, but I'm here to tell you NOPE! Didn't happen! Still cried every time!) The exchange of sweet glances and silly faces; the tender moments and laughs among family and friends - it all got me right in the heart strings. 

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It was a busy and amazing day and evening, and I'm so pleased to share their story with you now:

Thank you, Amanda and Stuart, for letting me a part of such an important day in your lives! I'm still swooning over how beautiful it all was!

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I'm very excited to announce that I'm opening my 2018 to weddings. I would love to help you capture your day, share your love story with the world, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Because summer is my busiest time of year, I'm limiting the year to just five spots (with a couple extra spots open for winter and autumn weddings!).

Different options are available for different tastes and budgets. Get in touch with me to discuss your wedding today!

Know someone getting married? Just like the video? Click share below to help me spread the word!

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Officially Unleashing My Inner Photographer (Finally) by Andrea Beça

A perhaps little known fact about me (though not if you follow me on Instagram): I love photography. When I was a teen, my mom and brother taught me how to use an SLR (yes, in the days of yore, when film was the thing), and as soon as I had saved up enough money, I bought myself a DSLR (some time had passed) in preparation for a huge solo trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland. 

I packed a film camera too - for good measure - and returned from a month of travels with over 35 rolls of film and thousands of digital photos. I haven't stopped taking photos since.

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Photography is a huge part of my professional life, too. Beyond taking photos to feature on my own website and social media, I do a ton of portrait and detail photography for my podcast, That's So Maven! Taking photos so regularly for the podcast (and getting asked by many of the guests if I'm up for hire) has really inspired me to take the leap and start offering photography services to my clients

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Okay, so truth be told, it's not much of a leap, per se. I know there are a lot of people in my life who are going to read this and say, "finally!!" But it's a new change and I'm very excited for it. 

Want to see more? Visit my new photography portfolio (I'll keep this one updated and fresh just like I do with my video portfolio) and if you're ready to request a quote or book a session, drop me a line so that we can schedule it in. 

If you dig my work, click below to share this post and help me spread the word! 

Creating a Visual Time Capsule by Andrea Beça

I cannot express how grateful I am that when my nephew was born, I was able to pack my business up with me and jump on a flight to Toronto. Moments like this are a beautiful extra reminder of how much of a privilege it is to be my own boss. 

I, of course, fell madly in love with Jasper. I mean, I loved him before he was born, but getting the chance to hold him and bond with him face to face, skin to skin, was so incredible. Before even booking my flight, I knew that I wanted to create a time capsule of my visit to Toronto, and use my filmmaking skills to capture a slice of life that my brother and sister in law (and the rest of our family and friends) could have forever. 

I snapped photos and shot video at every chance I could get, and this is the result. I hope you enjoy it. 

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If you'd like to capture a special moment in time, get in touch with me

Five Tips for Great Video Content by Andrea Beça

You need video content, period.

It's 2017 and video is everything on social media. If you don't believe it, you really don't have to look much further than an infographic like this one, or articles like this, which are being published every day. Video gets ten times more shares than other content, and many social media channels are now giving it special preference. Video content on Facebook has such strong reach that a lot of businesses and brands are even trying to "hack" the system, sharing still photos as videos just to reap the benefits (side note: don't do this - it's just annoying). 

So, in the age of video content, what makes for great video content?

Here are my Top Five Tips for Great Video Content:

1. Know what kind of video you need

What's going to help you reach your goals? What ARE your goals? Are you trying to spread awareness? Sell product? Teach your clients? 

Examples of types of videos:

Knowing what you want to get out of your video is absolutely crucial to its success. I can't stress this enough. In fact...

2. Plan first, shoot second

Or as I like to say, plan first, second, third, fourth, fifth...and shoot tenth. 

The last thing you want is to spend your time and money on a video that doesn't actually do anything for you, or that leaves you wising you could do a re-take on your interview or voiceover. Before you shoot, make sure you know what your goals are, what you want to say, and that you have a plan for the final product. This is all accomplished by a briefing/concept meeting with your videographer and/or editor.

And speaking of hiring a professional to do your video...

3. Pay for quality

Do you always need a professional to make video? No. Not if you're doing quick Facebook Live content, or if you're shooting super casual videos with your iPhone to share on Twitter or Instagram Stories. 

But when it comes to videos with marketing goals, trust me on this one: hire a professional. 

Note the difference:

(Note: Absolutely no shade intended at the YouTube video on the left - I just needed an image to show what a video shot on a laptop cam/iPhone with no lighting or framing looks like, so I grabbed a screen cap at random.)

Not only does a professional videographer know about lighting and composition, your producer and editor (note that these may all be the same person, which is what happens if you hire me and many others) is a storyteller. Making you sound good and getting the right message across in an engaging and effective way is their job. It's the difference between an unprofessional video full of "ums" and "uhs" and a concise, compelling video that reaches your goals.

Almost every time I deliver a final cut to one of my clients, they say, "You asked me just the right questions and got me to say just the right thing - you totally captured who I am!" That's two writing degrees, over a decade of experience as both a professional writer and director, and six years as a video editor. I can take 30 minutes of interview footage and turn it into a fantastic 90-second video. Telling stories is what I've committed my entire life to doing. It's what I love the most.

As with many things, video is definitely a, "You get what you pay for" situation. Beware the person saying they can make you a great video ad for $100. That amount of money wouldn't even cover the rental on a basic lighting kit.

But at the same time, you can have incredible video content and no success with it if you don't...

4. Strategize your sharing

No social media strategy? 

Photo by Jez Arnold

Photo by Jez Arnold

You can't just order a viral video off a menu (though back in the day, when I worked at an advertising agency, we had many clients try). The internet is a very busy place. It's not an "if you build it, they will come" situation. So before you spend good money on developing video content, make sure you know what you're going to do with it. This strategy should be tied into the same conversation you have to set goals for your video(s). And it should definitely involve more than, "we're gonna put it up on our website." 

Remember that it takes a number of mentions for people to catch on to something - or even just to see it (damn you, algorithms). Have a strategy ready to get the most out of your video content.

5. Be yourself

It sounds simple, but it's so important. Video is the beautiful golden gateway to creating a strong, human connection with your audience online. If you're not genuine, your video will fall flat. So embrace your nerves, your unique facial expressions, and that cowlick in your hair, because all of those things are what will make your audience like you that much more.

Ready to make great video? You know where to find me

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